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Reviews from November 2019 (19)

A Sign in the Wind

The River South  (Riders Guild, volume 2)

By Marta Randall  

28 Nov, 2019

Special Requests


2019’s The River South is the second volume of Marta Randall’s Riders Guild series.

Abandoned by her mother, Kieve Rider, as a baby, Shrug was left to the care of the Rider Guild in Koerstadt. The Guild was a careless guardian and Shrug a challenging ward. 

Someone else seems to have a keen interest in Shrug’s future. This unknown party would like Shrug’s future to be short. Shrug escapes the first assassin. 

One of the riders, Daenet, remembers Kieve fondly and tries to protect her daughter against further attempts. He takes Shrug with him on a river voyage, which gets the girl out of Koerstadt. Daenet is accompanying Lord Kyst, whom he serves as rider (and who is also his lover). 

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With a Little Help From My Friends

Sisters of The Vast Black

By Lina Rather  

27 Nov, 2019

Miscellaneous Reviews

1 comment

Lina Rather’s 2019 Sisters of The Vast Black is a standalone science fiction novella.

The living starship Our Lady of Impossible Constellations conveys the sisters of the Order of Saint Rita between several extrasolar systems, where they minister to scattered human colonies. Their spiritual ministry often takes a back seat to medical assistance. Forty years ago the colonies cast off the rule of the Earth Central Governance. Freedom from ECG comes bundled with freedom from all the medical resources ECG once provided. 

During the revolution, the rebels scourged the Earth, executing some ECG leaders and driving the others into exile, For some time the wounded ECG let the colonies to go their own way. Now the ECG is looking outward again. This will affect the sisters on board Our Lady of Impossible Constellations.

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Where I Can See It All

Catfishing on Catnet

By Naomi Kritzer  

25 Nov, 2019

Miscellaneous Reviews

1 comment

2019’s Catfishing on CatNet is the first volume of Naomi Kritzer’s new YA series.

Fleeing Steph’s abusive father, Steph’s mother has spent the better part of a decade moving from town to town. Denied time to put down roots and forbidden to stay in contact with any friends she might make during her brief stays, Steph has turned to the internet for companionship. CatNet, an online forum whose denizens share pictures of cats (and other animals), is the closest thing she has to a social circle.

One of her online friends is not like the others.

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Thank Heaven for Little Girls

The Door into Summer

By Robert A. Heinlein  

24 Nov, 2019

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Robert A. Heinlein’s 1957 The Door into Summeris a standalone SF novel. I am glad that it had no sequels and no prequels, as I am sure I would have grown to hate them as well. Why? Read on. 

It’s 1970 and Dan Davis has survived World War Three. He and his business partner have started a cutting-edge cybernetics company. The business is stolen from him by his conniving fiancée (Belle) and his equally traitorous partner (Miles). Who could have predicted that blindly signing business documents could turn out so badly?

The evil pair aren’t satisfied with bilking Dan out of his company. They want him gone; he might make trouble. Murder, they feel, is too risky. But drugging him and putting him into suspended animation … that’s different. 

Dan goes to sleep in the futuristic year 1970. He wakes in the even more futuristic year 2000.

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Gonna Have to Serve Somebody

Realm of Ash  (Books of Ambha, volume 2)

By Tasha Suri  

22 Nov, 2019

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do


2019’s Realm of Ash is the second volume in Tasha Suri’s series, Books of Ambha.

Arwa’s family hoped that her marriage would raise the family’s diminished status. But a brutal massacre at Darez Fort left her a widow. Widowhood means loss of position, of status, of any chance of remarriage. She is banished to a secluded retreat for upper class widows.

Arwa has a secret. She believes the massacre was her fault and that she is cursed. She is, after all, not the proper Ambhan lady she appears to be.

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Each Merry Man’s Friend

Mapping Winter  (Riders Guild, volume 1)

By Marta Randall  

19 Nov, 2019

Special Requests


2019’s Mapping Winter is the first volume in Marta Randall’s Riders Guild secondary universe speculative fiction series. It is a reworking of her 1983 novel Sword of Winter1.

Kieve Rider delivers portentous news to the scattered communities of Dalmorat Province. After four decades of autocratic rule, Lord Cadoc Marubin is finally dying. Few will be sad to see the Lord dead, but his death may not bring happiness to his subjects. Cadoc leaves behind an innovative system of secret police and midnight arrests, ugly tools his successor may set aside … or take up. 

Kieve Rider despises Cadoc but, having sworn an oath to him, has no choice but to serve. Like the rest of the people of Dalmorat, she hopes Cadoc’s death will bring freedom for her. It may instead send her to her own death.

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